MILWAUKEE – Governor Scott Walker visited P&H Mining Tuesday, a Milwaukee-based mining equipment manufacturer, to bring attention to a mining bill stalled in the Wisconsin State Legislature. Walker, who is the target of a recall effort, sought to put the focus on policy, not politics.
Walker said Tuesday the details of his re-election campaign are up to his staff, and the only campaign he's focused on right now is his effort to improve Wisconsin's economy. "My fight is not going to be over campaign issues,” Walker said. “It's going to be about fighting to put more people to work in the state of Wisconsin, and that's essentially why we're out here on the trail today."
It was his first public appearance since his re-election campaign decided not to challenge any of the recall petitions. Walker says he's ready for an election. "I've said I expect that there would be one,” he said. “Instead of getting caught up in the details of the recall process itself, I’m trying to stay focused on my campaign -- which is to help this state create 250,000 jobs."
The governor filed a document with the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, referring to the petition review of a Tea Party group known as "Verify the Recall."
That group released the findings of it's review Monday. "We only found 819,000 actual unique signatures. Of those, we found 228,000 that need further review,” Larry Gamble, communications director for the Wisconsin Grandsons of Liberty, one of the groups involved in the “Verify” effort said.
The Wisconsin Democratic Party disputed the Tea Party findings. "If they want to have a debate about whether 800,000 or a million people stood out in the cold and signed the petitions, we're happy to have that debate,” Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate said.
The state Democratic Party says there are more than enough valid signatures to force the election. "They haven't really demonstrated any credible evidence that they have any questionable signatures,” Tate said. “The official response from the Walker campaign appears to be that they will not challenge any signatures."
Walker says he wants the Government Accountability Board to consider the findings of third-party groups. "Want or not, it's their legal responsibility to do so, and I assume they will, and in the end we're ready,” Walker said.
Walker is trying to put the focus back on his policies and not the politics surrounding the effort to recall him, but that will be increasingly difficult to do as the Democrats have now launched TV ads comparing him to Richard Nixon that are airing in select parts of the state.